"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Thursday, November 22, 2018

The good war?

The good war? - History Extra

"[On World War II] My father, who had fought in it. He was plainly discontented in some important way about the outcome. And he would say we won the war, or did we?...

‘Why do you believe this myth is so prevalent? Why despite all the arguments you lay out in your book do people still believe this myth?’

‘It’s partly because of the enormous power of, as Philip Pullman said once upon a time is much more powerful than thou shalt not. Given that Christianity as a set beliefs and precepts have almost completely collapsed in our midst, we need something else to believe in. And we need somewhere else to get our sources of goodness from. A place where we can read parables and how to behave and take examples from. And the war has I think performed that function for an awful lot of people… This was a time of heroes. This was a time of greatness...

After the war was over, we had many of the aspects of a defeated country. We were bankrupt, we were battered. We took quite a long time to recover, and we certainly had less power than we had by a long way, before the war had taken place. And people, I think, felt a need, a very strong need to justify that loss of prestige and wealth by saying, well, it may well be we lost prestige and wealth, but we did something incredibly good...

Appeasement is not by any means necessarily a bad policy, in diplomacy. Sometimes you have to do it. It's always a function of the balance of forces. Sometimes we do it in modern times, in ways which I find reprehensible.

I think the general attitude towards what Israel should do about the Arab world is definitely bad appeasement. I think Britain’s own behavior towards the IRA has been bad appeasement. But on other occasions, you simply have to do it.

We appeased Stalin like anything in the final years of the Second World War because we had to, otherwise we wouldn't have had an ally and we couldn't have defeated Hitler on the European landmass…

Chamberlain, as the Labour Party ceaselessly pointed out when opposing it throughout the 1930s, was actually rearming the country very heavily, but he was re-arming it for a different war from the one we actually fought. He was re-arming it for a war in defence of the Empire and a war in defense of the Home Islands, not for a European continental land war...

[Poland] had a very bad government at the time, which was both despotic and pretty openly antisemitic. In, certainly in the terms of the modern world, people would be shocked by the attitude many of the Polish ruling class had towards the Jews in Poland. And which had also take part as a jackal in the dismantling of Czechslovakia. They had seized Teschen from Czechoslovakia with German encouragement and the French were particular furious about this. So it wasn’t, we weren’t sort of intervening as it were entirely on the side of good. The other thing about Poland was it was one of the first countries to complete a treaty with Nazi Germany...

The Battle of Britain was a propaganda conflict… I don't think there was ever any serious preparation for an invasion of this country by the Germans. They never, for instance, constructed a single landing craft. The German army and the German navy could never agree on what scale and type of invasion it should be. And at one stage, it seemed perfectly clear that they were planning for purely for purposes of show. What Hitler wanted was for us to make peace, and it was a psychological war. And Churchill, likewise, viewed it as a psychological war...

If we are to look rationally and educationally at the past, we have to remove the sort of eye patch that history places over at least one eye and look at it properly. It wasn't as heroic as all that - the time when we needed to believe wholly in this myth has passed, it's so long ago that the last people who fought in this war are now very, very old indeed. It's moving, as we speak, into the area of history, and I think the time has necessarily come to start treating it more dispassionately especially because, and this is the fundamental reason why I wrote it, especially because of the incessant use of the Second World War as a kind of template for good wars, for wars of choice.

We're always told, whether it be Saddam Hussein or General Noriega or Vietnam or Korea, we’re always told that the other side is Hitler, we’re always told that not doing anything about it is appeasement, we're always told that those who are sceptical about the war are modern day versions of Neville Chamberlain. And we're also told, I think, very misleadingly, that the war was - not so much told as assumed - and I quote The Prince of Wales in this extraordinary thought for the day, it's assumed that the war was fought for humanitarian reasons. Particularly to save the Jews of Europe. Well if it was fought to save the Jews of Europe, it was a pretty bad failure... quite a lot of Jews survived because we eventually did win the war, but that's not why we were fighting it. In fact there is quite strong evidence that we weren't fighting for that reason, points at which we ignored opportunities which might have saved quite a lot more Jewish lives than we did save.

And I think we should stop mythologising it. I think the current mess that we’re in in Syria, the mess that we go into in Libya, the mess we got into in Iraq and quite possibly the mess we’re going to get ourselves into with Russia or Eastern Europe will be partly because of this delusion...

The appalling acts visited on entirely innocent women and children of German extraction in Central Europe, in a vast project of ethnic cleansing which took place after the war which still remains to to me, a shocking thing... the continued refusal to acknowledge that there might have been anything wrong in deliberately bombing German civilians"


Meanwhile today antifa is trying to uncritically weaponise World War II rhetoric
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